No transport, no security as new term starts

TT Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) head Antonia De Freitas said the children of Claxton Bay Anglican Primary School were left stranded on Monday morning, the first day of school after the Christmas vacation.

De Freitas said when the Education Ministry moved the school to Marabella Secondary, it had said once school started back, it would provide transport for students from Claxton Bay to Marabella, and would do remedial work on the Claxton Bay building.

De Freitas said neither was done.

"So there was no transport for students this morning for students to get to Marabella. Only the teachers were there.

"And the work on the school itself was not done.

"Also, when the school was relocated to Marabella last term, there was flooding on the Marabella compound when it rained. That resulted in the loss of students' books and so on. The ministry was supposed to address that, but that wasn't dealt with, either."

Couva West Secondary School remained closed, as did South East Port of Spain Secondary, because of work being done on the school.

De Freitas said, "The minister indicated that Edinburgh 500 would have been closed as well. However, the teachers reported for duty because they did not receive any information about the school being closed. The teachers are ready and willing to resume work at the school."

De Freitas said at least three primary schools in St Patrick county reported that private security firms, for whatever reason, had not sent officers for the start of school today.

"We are now more than ever concerned about school security.

"I got word earlier this morning about the stabbing of the teacher in PoS. While it wasn't a primary or secondary school teacher, it is cause for concern.

"We want the ministry to continue the discussion regarding school security and hopefully find a solution for some of these long standing issues."

Jezelle Phillip-Fournillier, the principal of Baby's Pre-School, Independence Square, Port of Spain, was stabbed to death in front her pupils at around 7.20 am.

Newsday tried to reach Education Minister Anthony Garcia for comment on the Claxton Bay school, but calls to him went straight to voicemail. Messages went unanswered.

A source at the ministry said it was working with the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC).

The official said, "I am not saying that we are relinquishing responsibility. We are responsible. I think they continued to liaise with PTSC as it relates to getting the transport for the students.

"I don't know, for some strange reason, PTSC seems to be experiencing some difficulty sourcing a driver for that school. But they are trying, they have had some recommendations.”

The source said work on the three schools that remained closed should be completed within the next two weeks. The contractor reportedly asked for the extra time.

Also, fifth and sixth form students at SEPOS will attend classes at the former John Donaldson Technical Institute from today until renovations are completed at their school.


"No transport, no security as new term starts"

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